Inspired by the better half

Inspired by the better half

By Suresh Pattali

Published: Fri 9 Aug 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 9 Aug 2019, 2:00 AM

"Welcome to our kitchen," wifey said as I entered her little big culinary world with a demeanour that would put to shame an Indian bride poised to make her griha pravesh, or homecoming. I almost tripped on the chapati board lying on the floor, like a newly-wed kicking a pot of rice with her hennaed foot.
"What makes you come here, sir? Want some tea, coffee?" Her query almost drowned in the commotion from a slew of gadgets that cluttered the counter-top.
"No topic for this week's column." I harrumphed as embarrassment and hesitation smothered my words.
"Listen, dear, let me make it very clear: I am not writing your column anymore." She revved up the grinder by one notch.
"Excuse me, you never wrote my columns. Your conversations just inspired me to write, that's all."
"Conversations are as important in marriage life, not just in the writing sphere."
"I agree. So talk, darling, talk. Drench me with your words. Let them rain down."
"Not a good idea, sirji. You will copy and post them into print. Forget it."
"What makes a great literary work is the power of observation."
"You have been manipulating your observations, bending them according to your writing needs. Very often, you put words into my mouth."
"You are a little star; chief protagonist in my work. Live the moment, honey."
"I dread striking a conversation with you. Your mind works like an algorithm, analysing my words, emotions, even the length of my breath to come out with something that lights your brain and suits your column. I am not game for it anymore."
"Come on, will anyone enjoy the raw footage of a movie? It's the final cut that enthrals the audience. That's where creativity comes in."  
"You have soiled my image. You characterise me as a dumbhead that only fits in the kitchen."
"The kitchen is not a bad place."
"Patriarchy has poisoned your mind, man. I am a well-known teacher. I am proud of myself. I have a name which I don't want you to ruin with your poison pen."
"Ayyo. Take it easy. Life is a game."
"In the game of writing we play, there's only one winner, that's you; and a perpetual loser, that's me," she gasped, pointing the spatula at me.
"At the end of the day, you are the winner in all my columns." I patted her cheek.
"The expression 'clatter rising from the sink' was used so liberally to picture me as a creature crawling in the kitchen."
"I am so sorry about that. It wasn't deliberate." I attempted to mend the fence.
"Instead, you should have written about a teacher who slogs 24x7 to inspire, influence and mould a generation of peace-loving humans. That's what all teachers do." She had almost finished cooking the weekend breakfast, with the dosa pan hissing one last time.
"No one questions your calibre. Believe me, readers just savour the humour and move on," I tried to calm her.
"It's not humour. It's an exercise in black humour."
"Never mind the genre, darling. Every piece of art or literature has a message for society."
"I am not your message. Your column on VAT even declared to the whole world I am math-illiterate. Another one insinuated Hindi is foreign to me. Even my father was not spared. Any victim of a tragedy is adequately compensated. I wasn't."
"Oh, you are my love."
"Forget compensation - there should at least be a give-and-take agreement between us. You get your topics and I get my pound of flesh. Love needs to
be expressed."
"Which better way can I do it?"
"Cast your love in stone... or at least in metal... yellow metal."
Beads of sweat rolled down my face as the summer heat conspired against me with the brilliance of love. I had almost emptied the tissue box, when a bang on the door reverberated across the house.
"Yes, may I help you?" I asked the gentleman in a sherwani at the door. He carried a little treasure box.
"Sir, I am your next-door jeweller. I have brought a collection for madam to choose from."
"How did you know she wants gold?"
"We heard your scream, sir. Madam had downloaded our app which listens to conversations. It knows your pulse, sir. The algorithm does the rest."
"Honey, want some love cast in algorithm?" Her eyes glowed like a pair of stars behind me.

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